Do you have references?

July 16, 2009 by Karin
Filed under: Business 

I will occasionally hear the phone message “And do you have references?” While it’s important to get references before hiring a new service to ensure that the service has provided reliable and competent care to other clients, how do you know that the names you’ve been given aren’t family and friends posing as clients? As long as they have a different last name, you have no way of knowing if the service has provided bogus references or true clients. If they are references from true clients, consider that the names provided will only be of customers who were happy with the service.

When calling a reference that has been provided, it’s not the same as calling the HR department of a company. You are calling someone in their own home, so it’s different.

Here are a few things you can do to help in the process of finding clients of the service.

  • Ask if the company has clients in your neighbourhood. You may actually know them. We’ve had clients recognize names of those they are on volunteer committees with.
  • Ask if the company deals with a veterinarian and is known at the clinic. This is beyond merely dropping off business cards and advertising. They need to be known at the clinic.
  • Ask if they have clients who are in the same profession as you are. They may be someone you work with. For example, we have a high number of university professors as clients. They will likely know one of the other profs.
  • Ask if they have professional references from clients who are doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc.

While it’s a good idea to ask for references, ask beyond client names. It’s good practice!

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